RICHMOND, Va. -- As Santa was making his list and checking it twice, a Chesterfield six-year-old was raising tens of thousands of dollars for children in need one whisker at a time.
“Well, I asked my grandpa why he was growing a mustache and he said, ‘well, there's a lot of children that are sick, hungry and don't even have homes.’ So, I said, I want to help so they signed me up,” explained Emmanual Hansen.
For the second year, Emmanuel Hansen signed up for M4K Richmond - Let's Grow This Thing! M4K Richmond’s fundraising campaign and joined Welcome (richmondfriendsofthehomeless.org) Richmond Friends of the Homeless team, a non-profit run by Emmanual’s grandmother Shawnee Hansen.
“M4K Richmond is a volunteer-run organization in Richmond, where we raise money for local children's charities. We do that through growing mustaches as conversation starters,” said M4K Board of Director member, Ben Keefer.
Emmanuel collected several stick-on mustaches that he wore during the month-long campaign to solicit donations.
“So, I would put it on and I would raise money with family and friends.” said the youngest mustache grower Emmanual Hansen.
The youngest non-facial hair grower raised $25,500 coming in fourth in Richmond and tenth in the country, earning him the first annual “M4K Einstein award".
“They said it took a genius that's six years old with no facial hair to raise all this money,” said Emmanual.
Emmanuel was named rookie of the year last year for raising just under $12,000.
“I really love his passion for it and just the outside of the box and creative thinking, from him and his family to want to get involved in and not be kind of intimidated by the mustache, because at the end of the day the organization really is about fundraising for local children's charities. It's not about actually growing a mustache,” said Keefer. Hopefully, he will inspire other folks around Richmond to participate, even if they can't or don't want to grow a mustache. There's other ways to get involved in and help our community."
“We are proud beyond words,” said Emanuel’s grandmother Shawnee Hansen. “He is such a giving, wonderful little boy. He’s got a big heart. He couldn't wait to help others in this way, tell others about it. Tell them how important it is to give.”
Emmanuel says he gets more out of giving than he does out of receiving.
“Toys don't matter, family matters,” says Emmanual.
CBS 6 Investigative Reporter Laura French asked Emmanual he how received so many blessings this holiday season.
“I'm just nice and kind,” he replied. “I help others in my class if they're lonely. I'll play with them and when they're sad, I include them in my game.
The Grange Hall Elementary first-grader has big plans for next year’s campaign but for now, he’ll enjoy his accomplishments from this year.
“I am glad that I raised all that money,” said Emmanual.
Richmond’s M4K raised $575,000 for area children’s charities locally.